Local News


Dirty Dining: Winchell's Donuts, China Star and a taco truck

Posted at 10:45 PM, Sep 27, 2017

Roaches and donuts – two words you don't want to hear in the same sentence--but they're keeping close company in tonight's Dirty Dining.

We begin with Taqueria Los Volcanes, a food trailer that was taken off the road by the Health District with 37 demerits and the imminent health hazard of no hot water. 

We went looking, but didn't find them at their commissary on Pioneer Avenue, so we tried the phone number on the health inspection and left two messages, which were not returned.  

Inspectors watched a food handler walk in and out of the trailer numerous times and prepare food without washing hands.  

The trailer was leaking wastewater onto the ground.  

And there were numerous flies inside, including two hanging out on the cutting board.

Pests were also a problem at Winchell's Donut House on Jones and Desert Inn, but not the flying kind.  

Winchell's was shut down with two imminent health hazards--a multi-generational cockroach infestation and a sewage back-up out of floor sinks into food prep areas.

"We want to get your side of the story and find out what happened with the health department and getting shut down for the cockroaches," Darcy Spears said to Winchell's Owner Cida Kato.

"We were having a plumbing problem," Kato answered. "So when you have a plumbing problem you got some of those pests coming around. So that was the time that she came," she said in reference to the health inspector.

Inspectors also found Winchell's staff thawing food in a sink next to dirty dishes and using greasy cardboard to line icing trays and hold bagels.

Darcy Spears: And they did note that there were a lot of dirty conditions--equipment and floors and walls...
Cida Kato: No, that wasn't the problem, you know, when you're busy you have little things coming here and there, but we're okay now. 

They weren't okay when they first called inspectors to come back.

Darcy: Why did you call them to come back for re-inspection two days later when there were still roaches?
Cida: Because I thought--I didn't know they were there.

Winchell's failed their first re-inspection and had to stay closed after inspectors found a cockroach inside the bulk flour bin and more throughout the facility.

Our last imminent health hazard closure was China Star Super Buffet on Maryland Parkway near Sahara.  

It, too, had a multi-generational cockroach infestation.  

They were crawling on clean pans and the prep table, in fact, inspectors counted 50 roaches--20 walking around and 30 more stuck to glue traps.  

Extensive grease and food debris build-up on equipment, floors and a floor drain made China Star irresistible to the bugs, who'd obviously set up shop.  

There was also heavy black/brown food debris on the can opener blade and black mold in the ice machine.

All three places are now back open with A grades.